History : Located on Whitefish Point, this lighthouse helps to
guide ships through what is known as the "Graveyard of the
Lakes". Over seventy major shipwrecks have occurred in this
area since regular navigation of the Great Lakes began. One of the
most famous in the Edmund Fitzgerald lost on November 10,
1975. Unfortunately this lighthouse malfunctioned and went
in-operative at the time the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost.
March of 1847, $5,000 were appropriated for construction of a light
at this location. Ebenezer Warner of Sandusky, OH signed a contract
on August 21, 1847 to build the light of split stone and/or bricks.
The light was completed in late 1848 and placed into service in
early 1849 with James B. Van Ranselaer as the keeper. The Copper
Harbor Light went into service at the same time with both lights
laying claim to being the first on Lake Superior.
1861 the lighthouse was replaced with the current "Iron
Pile" tower. This type of light was built to withstand the
harsh Winter weather Lake Superior throws her way. The tower has a
square tubular base converging into a pyramid shape with diagonal
bracing. This skeletal structure supports and stabilizes a 42 foot
tall cast iron cylindrical tower with a cast iron watch and lantern
original lamps and reflectors were Winslow and Lewis. In 1857 they
were replaced with a Fresnel lens. In 1913 a 1,000 watt Alladin
incandescent oil vapor lamp was installed by the Lighthouse Service.
light was automated in 1970 by the United States Coast Guard.
courtesy of: U.S. Coast Guard